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Simple Tips for Living with Less Plastic

On our recent trip to London Zoo, we were all really shocked to see a display in the Aquarium that showed a tank full of plastic bottles. The caption underneath told us that if humans continue creating plastic waste the way that we currently do, that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish!

plastic-waste

Perhaps some of you knew that already but for the rest of you I’m sure you’ll find that as shocking as we did. 2050 isn’t very far into the future. And that’s a hell of a disturbing fact about the levels of plastic waste we generate across the World. I was even more surprised to find out just how toxic and dangerous many plastics are, as well as how many can’t be recycled.

We came home from the zoo having made the decision that we wouldn’t use any more plastic. Of course, the reality is that it’s practically impossible to avoid plastic. Much of what we use and come into contact with on a daily basis is made of or using plastic in some shape or form. So what can we do? I put together these simple tips for living with less plastic and generating less waste.

Bring your own bag

This is actually something we’ve already been doing for a while now. I have a couple of canvas shopping bags and am planning to purchase a basket bag too. Most supermarket bags are only used for a few minutes and not recycled thus ending up in landfills. Those kinds of plastics take hundreds of years to break down and pollute the environment whilst doing so. If you drive to and from the supermarket then keep some in your car. Or if like me you don’t drive, keep a fold out one in your handbag. That way you’ll never get caught out and need to purchase a carrier bag.

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Carry a reusable water bottle/ stop buying plastic bottles

This one is a biggy – plastic bottles often containΒ polyethene terephthalate (PET #1) – which contains the toxic metal antimony. These bottles are also intended for single use. This means if they are reused or exposed to heat or cold, they will break down faster and shed more residue.

glass-water-bottle

In most countries, tap water is perfectly safe to drink so get yourself a reusable bottle and use that instead. I recommend a stainless steel or glass one. We keep a pretty glass one in the fridge and refill it straight from the tap. We also have a stainless steel bottle to take out with us on day trips.

Bring your ownΒ 

I recently got myself and Scott some travel mugs to use for coffee. Every morning my lovely husband wakes me up with a mug of coffee from our cafetiere and there’s always a couple of cups left over.

I simply pour them into our travel mugs and those keep the coffee warm for our commutes to work. You can also use them if you buy coffee out at a cafe – although I’m trying not to do that anymore. I also don’t use disposable cutlery and straws – there’s no need for them. You can get travel cutlery sets or metal sporks for cheap enough on Amazon so you could always keep a set in your bag if you need some.

Minimise packaging

One thing that I’ve really noticed is that supermarkets use way too much packaging. Things like produce; fruits and vegetables, really don’t need to be plastic wrapped.

plastic-waste-carrots-basket

Why do supermarkets insist on wrapping individual broccolis? It’s ridiculous. I noticed a massive difference in Sweden where pretty much all of the fresh produce was left open and sold out of refrigerators to keep them fresh.

A good alternative would be to buy produce from a farmer’s market, meat from a butchers etc. However, that isn’t always possible – especially when you live in the city like we do. A simple change for us is to grow our own herbs rather than buying the plastic pouches of them. This saves us money too!

basil-herb

I’m also trying to only choose fruit and vegetables that can be purchased without the wrap. I am planning on writing to our supermarkets to see how we can reduce waste. If enough people do the same we could make a real difference to how the supermarkets package their foods.

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Replace with alternatives

Look around your home and see what plastics you use that could be replaced. Do you use plastic Tupperware for leftovers? Store them in glass containers instead. Or make some of these handy bowl covers to cover food.

Are your toothbrushes plastic? When they need replacing choose wooden and natural fibre replacements. Use glass dispensers for shampoo/washing up liquid/ hand soap – you can buy them in bulk which saves on packaging.Β Next time I replace our dish brushes I will be replacing them with natural fibre and wooden products too.wooden-not-plastic-washing-brushes

I’ve even knitted dishcloths and stopped using paper towels and cleaning wipes in the kitchen. Instead, I have stocked up on fabric cloths that can be washed and reused. It’s simple changes like these that will really help.

You could also use shampoo bars, natural deodorants and cleaning products so that you aren’t buying items with unnecessary packaging. There are tonnes of resources for these online.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Like I said it’s practically impossible to not use plastics in some shape or form. It’s also very difficult to live completely waste-free. But you can reduce, reuse and recycle to minimise your waste.

As a family we recycle – it is Lily’s job to sort the recycling out. We dabble in growing our own and also compost our leftovers. We do a lot of crafting using ‘waste’ products and we are reducing our use of plastics. In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem as though these little changes would make a big difference – but every little does help. And wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you are doing your bit? I know I do.

How do you minimise your use of plastic? Let me know of any ideas you have!

Alex

xxx

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25 Comments

  • Reply Talya February 11, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I try to bring my own bag and refillable water bottle wherever I go but I do feel there is so much more I could be doing but I guess every little helps!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 11, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      Every little definitely helps! I don’t always remember my bag but I feel much better when I do πŸ™‚

  • Reply The Frenchie Mummy February 11, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    guilty for using plastic bottles. I always my own bag and recycle all the house though

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Every small change makes a difference πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ondo Lady February 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    I try to use less plastic but I always come a cropper when I am food shopping because I forget my bags and have to buy plastic ones.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 12, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      I used to do the same (and occasionally still do) but I now keep a tiny foldout one in my handbag – that’s always with me so means i’m less likely to forget!

  • Reply Beth @ BethinaBox.com February 12, 2018 at 6:07 am

    I always try to remember my own bag but often I forget. I always only buy the minimum I need and carry what I can without a bag.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      I’ve got a few bags now and try to keep a small one at least in my handbag!

  • Reply AMY - All about a Mummy February 12, 2018 at 10:31 am

    It is shocking how much plastic we use and ends up in the sea. I was reading about how when we eat fish we are actually eating plastic because of how much fishes swallow. Really heartbreaking how we are ruining the sea. We don’t buy bottled water and instead keep tap water in the fridge. It’s not a lot but it’s something.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      I honestly think that every little change helps! I’ve read the same about when we are eating fish – makes me really sad πŸ™

  • Reply Sanja by MyFashionMission February 12, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    That is really serious issue, not long ago I watched a documentary about islands next to Male, and they are full of plastic and sewage because they always take the garbage from holiday resorts to their islands, so sad and frightening, I am always trying to reuse plastic bottles and so on. x

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 12, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Yes I have watched similar documentaries – it really is shocking πŸ™

  • Reply Rebecca Smith February 12, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I am really trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use so these are some great tips. I already try to bring my own bag as much as possible, I could certainly do better though.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 12, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      I think every little helps – one less plastic bag can never be a bad thing πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lisa February 12, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    This is quite a scary topic. We take our own bags when shopping and use refillable water bottles. We recycle as much as possible. One of my bugbears is the amount of packaging that everything comes in. Shocking!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 13, 2018 at 9:26 am

      I hate the amount of packaging everything comes in – I try my best to reduce it (so always going for loose veg where possible) but I think it’s ridiculous that everything comes cling film wrapped – no need for it!

  • Reply Elizabeth February 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    We’re doing what we can do too, and it’s great to get the kids involved. They’re so receptive to new knowledge like this, and as long as we teach them good habits hopefully we can reverse some of the damage.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 13, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Yes Lily found it fascinating and has now taken charge of the recycling in our home. It’s so important to educate and make simple changes.

  • Reply Debbie Nicholas February 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Such great ideas and I try to do all it could do better!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 14, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Thanks Debbie – if everyone made a small effort we’d see such a great return!

  • Reply Jen February 13, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    My little boy is learning about this at school and is keen to make a difference. It’s great to get the kids involved in something so important.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 14, 2018 at 11:49 am

      100% agree – they need us to show them the way

  • Reply Chloe Ciliberto February 13, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    I love your tips and all so important. I saw on the news the other day them dredge some plastic out of the sea. It made my stomach churn. We live by the sea so it’s something that is brought to our attention often and now we’re so conscious of our plastic use. I’m definitely going to implement some more of these tips into our lives too though. πŸ™‚ xx

    • Reply bettertogetherhome February 14, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Yes I watched a really interesting documentary about it – made me feel really sad that we have contributed to that environmental damage.

  • Reply Mudpie Fridays February 16, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    We have reusable hessian bags and our own drinks bottles. But I do feel that there must be more we can do. Great set of tips here. I cant believe the photo of all the bottles. It really is scary! x

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